Kouga declared disaster area

2017-06-15 06:02
While fire-fighters were able to extinguish and bring most of the fires under control by Thursday, hundreds of fire-fighters from across the country have been battling to bring a runaway fire in the Longmore region under control.                           Photo:WERNER HILLS

While fire-fighters were able to extinguish and bring most of the fires under control by Thursday, hundreds of fire-fighters from across the country have been battling to bring a runaway fire in the Longmore region under control. Photo:WERNER HILLS

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THE Kouga Municipality was declared a disaster area following a special council meeting on Monday.

The Kouga Council has declared a second local State of Disaster in as many weeks after an elderly couple lost their lives, houses burnt down, a private school was partially destroyed and more than 250 people were evacuated to the Thornhill Community Hall due to the raging fires in the area since last week Wednesday.

The fires were caused by a massive storm which caused widespread damage in and around the Kouga Municipal area.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen says the widespread destruction caused by the recent fires prompted the Council to declare a local state of disaster at a special meeting on June 12.

The declaration followed less than two weeks after the Council also declared a local state of disaster on May 31 due to the prolonged drought and looming water shortage to the area.

She says the declarations were necessary for the municipality to apply for funding from provincial and national government to address the impact of the disasters on Kouga’s infrastructure and communities.

The declarations will now be promulgated in the Provincial Gazette.

“Just as we stood together in the heat of the fire, we now have to stand together in rebuilding - in the same spirit - our families, our infrastructure and our Kouga,” she says.

Van Lingen says the Council wish to express its sincere condolences to the Van der Riet family on the passing of Myrna and Walter Van der Riet during the fires.

“It has been one of the great tragedies of this disaster,” she says.

“We are also sad about farm houses that were partly damaged or burnt down, the loss of staff houses, livestock, implements and outbuildings.”

She says the Department of Social Development is busy assessing how many people had lost everything in the fire and what their needs are.

“We would like to thank everyone who made donations or dedicated time and effort for the people of Kouga. The support has simply been incredible.”

Veld and bush fires, driven by strong winds, have been raging in the Kouga region since Wednesday, 7 June. While fire-fighters were able to extinguish and bring most of the fires under control by Thursday, hundreds of fire-fighters from across the country have been battling to bring a runaway fire in the Longmore region under control.

Kouga fires

About 250 residents of the Longmore Plantation in the Kouga area were evacuated on June 7, because of a huge blaze that was burning in the area. The residents were relocated to the Thornhill Community Hall, where they were provided with mattresses, blankets and food until the Friday when they were able to return to their homes.

A total of 15 fires were reported on the Wednesday and throughout the night:

  • Orange Grove: The fire was fuelled by a strong North Westerly wind, which caused the fire to burn over numerous farms on both sides of the R102. The fire was contained and extinguished on Thursday. Four dwellings and fencing were destroyed.
  • Kouga Dam: A veld fire was extinguished and several houses and other buildings were protected, with no damages reported.
  • Opposite Boskloof near the power substation: A bush fire was extinguished with no damages.
  • Waste site in Humansdorp: A bush fire was extinguished with the help of a Bomac from the refuse site. No damages.
  • St Francis Golf Course: A bush fire was extinguished with the help of the public. No damages.
  • Weston in Hankey: A bush fire was extinguished by the fire department. No damage to property.
  • Rooidraai in Hankey: A bush fire was extinguished by the fire department. No damage to property.
  • De Mist Kraal in Patensie: A report was received and a fire team dispatched. No fire was found and the crew was redirected to Orange Grove for assistance.
  • Longmore moving to Thornhill: Fire breaks were made with the assistance of Puttergill to prevent the fire from spreading to the informal area in Thornhill.
  • Vlakteplaas: A bush fire was reported by Smart Security, but no fire was found.
  • Longmore Plantation: The fire was out of control on Wednesday and people from Longmore were evacuated to Thornhill that night. By Thursday morning the threat to homes was reduced, with the fire burning in the mountains. Residents were able to return to their houses on Friday.
  • Tulip Street in Jeffreys Bay: A veld fire was extinguished and no damages were reported.
  • Nando Street, Kwanomzamo: An informal structure fire was extinguished with no injuries. Some damages.
  • At Nissan garage in Humansdorp: A bush fire was extinguished. No damages.
  • Koraal Street in Jeffreys Bay: A veld fire was extinguished. No damages.

From June 8 fire-fighting efforts were mainly focused on the fire at Longmore, with fire-fighters struggling to contain the blaze.

There was some relief for Kouga fire-fighters when the Longmore fire spread towards Lady’s Slipper, which is the jurisdiction of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The fire, however, turned back towards the Kouga region on Friday/Saturday.

Several structures were destroyed at the Zebra Lodge near Thornhill while African Dawn was also evacuated and just more than 100 people were accommodated in the Thornhill hall.

Some 60% of Woodridge Preparatory and College was destroyed.

Some outbuildings in the path of the raging fires were in danger of catching fire, but fire-fighters managed to protect them.

On Sunday, June 11, the Longmore fire was being contained, but was not yet under control while fire-fighters continued with mop-up operations at the Van Staden’s Gorge and Crossways.

Two casualties from Kouga, an elderly couple from a smallholding in the Thornhill area, have thus far been confirmed.

Drop-off points for donations for displaced communities and fire-fighters were set up at, among other places, the Jeffreys Bay municipal offices and Humansdorp Fire Department.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.

/News
 

Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?

 
 

Paws

How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.